An OSHA investigation has found that two construction companies in Illinois knowingly exposed foreign workers to asbestos hazards. Joseph Kehrer, Kehrer Brothers Construction and a Kehrer-affiliated company, D7 Roofing, which employed some of the workers, face $1,792,000 in penalties for willfully exposing at least eight workers to asbestos. OSHA inspectors determined that Kehrer and supervisors of the Albers, Illinois-based company told employees to remove asbestos-containing materials during renovation of an old elementary school. Many of the workers came to the U.S. to work for Kehrer under the provisions of the H-2B visa program that allows companies to hire foreign workers temporarily. The investigation found that Kehrer management threatened some workers with termination if they spoke with OSHA inspectors. In all, OSHA cited Kehrer and affiliates for 16 egregious, nine willful, and six serious violations. OSHA inspectors also found that Kehrer and the companies failed to warn employees, some of whom spoke only Spanish, of the danger – even though they were aware of the asbestos hazard.
Read more from Workers’ Compensation 360 here.